Foreign Ministry workers, engaged in a six month work dispute for better wage and
conditions, held a rare protest outside the headquarters of the Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, accusing the agency of undermining
According to Yair Frommer, head of the ministry’s
worker’s committee, the government is using the Shin Bet to deal with the visits
of foreign dignitaries, something the ministry – as part of the sanctions – is
refusing to do.
Among the signs held at the protest were “Shin Bet
instead of diplomacy = danger!!!” and “Shin Bet Collaborator.”
As part of
their sanctions the workers cut off Foreign Ministry contact with the agency a
few weeks ago.
Along with the protest, however, a representative from the
union met in Jerusalem with Finance Ministry officials to find a way out of the
dispute that has crippled a wide array of services provided by the Foreign
Ministry, from logistical support for ministerial trips abroad to consular
services to Israelis and new immigrants abroad.
In a related development,
the refusal of the Foreign Ministry workers to process and deal with visits of
Israeli diplomats and ministers abroad means that the government will not be
sending a representative to Bulgaria on July 18 to participate in the ceremony
marking a year since the terrorist attack there that killed five Israeli
tourists and a Bulgarian driver.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak
Aharonovitch was invited to participate in the ceremony, but he will be unable
to attend because of the sanctions.